Squeezie pack. Pouch nutrition. Whatever you call it, the adult version of your kid’s favorite slurp-ready food is catching on, and it’s about darn time.
For triathletes, the main appeal is portability. You can stash “fresh” food in your jersey pocket, workout bag, or car and forget the days of dealing with mushy, bruised bananas. And most pouches are re-sealable, so you can precisely control your intake.
We say “fresh” food because most pouch makers are right on trend, following the current movement in sports nutrition toward using more natural ingredients instead of processed fuel. Many squeeze packs are a mash of nutrient-rich whole foods, including fruits, veggies, grains and even Greek yogurt. Bonus: Because it takes manufacturers less time to stick food in a pouch than, say, a jar, the ingredients are often fresher than those in anything else you can buy off a shelf.
Triathletes with gastrointestinal issues will want to give these things a try. VP of marketing and innovation for pouch maker Baby Gourmet says ultrarunnners have been swapping out solid food for their products to avoid the nausea that often sets in after constantly fueling for hours.
Clif Bar’s Organic Energy Food pouches for athletes are designed with the same goal of minimizing GI distress while getting calories in. “The size of the pouch allows for greater water content,” says Clif brand manager Dai Deh, “and the higher water content aids in faster absorption.”
Two to Try
Clif Organic Energy Food
The newest flavors in Clif’s Organic Energy Food line, banana maple and apple cinnamon, are both oatmeal-based. Apple cinnamon was our test winner for its apple pie-like spice and pleasant texture. With 23 grams of carbs, 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber, electrolytes, including magnesium, and 140 calories, it makes a good gel substitute on a long ride. $2.99, Clifbar.com
Originally designed for kids, Slammers protein pouches are a smoothie-like snack that tastes best chilled. Made with Greek yogurt and other nutrient-dense ingredients such as sweet potato, acai, beets and bananas, the pouches’ 60 to 110 calories come almost entirely from carbs and protein, making them a great post-workout recovery slurp. Our top flavor pick: creamy banana chocolate. $5.99 for four, Slammerssnacks.com